Needing to win one of two games, Fort Mill took care of business early in the District IV baseball championship by scoring seven of its eight runs in the first inning.
Fort Mill came out swinging and put the game out of reach in the first inning, going on for a 8-2 win over South Pointe, which lost all four meetings this season to the Jackets.
“We did the little things to score runs,” said Fort Mill head coach Brad Mercer. “We were aggressive at the plate.”
The Jackets now hit the road Saturday to play the winner of the Belton Honea-Path/Walhalla game as part of the Upper State championship tournament.
“We have been playing good baseball,” Mercer said. “The bats are coming alive. Pitching will keep us in the games, but we have to stay aggressive at the plate.”
Fort Mill sent its number three starter Timmy Kallah to the mound and South Pointe sent senior Jacob Midkiff, and both had just two losses on the season.
Both teams made first inning errors, however. Fort Mill’s error didn’t hur , but the Stallions’ error did, as catcher Garrett Ray reached to lead off the game for the Jackets.
Three batters later, senior Kevin Woods got jammed inside, but still muscled the ball into left field for a bloop single, which scored Ray. Senior Andrew Tomasovich then doubled down the right field line to score both Woods and senior Preston Fry, who walked to get on earlier in the inning.
Fort Mill batted around after the ninth hitter Logan Pizzuto singled in Tomasovich to put the Jackets up 4-0. The next pitch, a pass ball, would score senior Nathan Helvey, who was hit by a pitch to reach base.
Ray then singled in junior Josh Turner, who walked, and Pizzuto before South Pointe was finally able to get out of the inning on a diving catch by Chance Montgomery at shortstop.
South Pointe head coach Jason Terry sent Midkiff back out on the mound in the second inning, where he settled down without allowing a hit. But he lasted just two innings, as Ethan Hinson relieved him in the third and finished out the game.
Midkiff allowed seven runs on four hits, walked three and struck out one.
As much as the Stallions’ pitching struggled, South Pointe’s fielding was just as bad, as it made five errors in the game, all in the first three innings.
Fort Mill added an eighth run in the third inning, as sophomore Jaden Savage reached on an error and was sacrificed in by fellow sophomore Brett Netzer.
Kallah cruised through four innings and didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning, when the Stallions’ Josh Massey singled up the middle. However, South Pointe’s woes continued, as Ray picked him off at first base.
South Pointe got on the board in the sixth inning as senior Jacob Carrington doubled, pushing second baseman Colby Robbins – who started the inning off with a single – to third. The Stallions’ Ian Hinson then sacrificed in Robbins to give South Pointe its first run of the game.
The Stallions added another run in the seventh with the help of a Fort Mill error and a single from Troy Rawls, which score designated hitter Wade Hopper, who reached on the error.
Kallah pitched a complete game allowing two runs on five hits while walking one and striking out three.
Fort Mill 8, South Pointe 2
Jacob Midkiff, Ethan Hinson (3) and Will Robbins (SP); Timmy Kallah and Garrett Ray (FM). W – Timmy Kallah (5-2), L – Jacob Midkiff (5-3). 2B – Andrew Tomasovich (FM), Jacob Carrington (SP). LOB – South Pointe 3, Fort Mill 7. Leading hitters: South Pointe – Josh Massey 2-3; Fort Mill – Andrew Tomasovich 1-1 2 RBI, Garrett Ray 1-3 2 RBI, Kevin Woods 1-3 RBI, Logan Pizzuto 1-1 RBI.
Records: South Pointe 19-8, Fort Mill 23-4